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Good deeds, a fast Paint, excess horses and Canadian regs

For the June 5, 2010 edition of Tri-State Livestock News.

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We got our calves branded this past week and the cows and calves out on fresh pasture. It feels good to have it done without even one rain delay! Had our homegrown help home and that was good too. Well, let’s hit a lope and go see some country.

Rodeo season is going full steam now, with everyone from the little tykes to the older folks running down the road. South Dakota High School Rodeo is in full swing, working up to the state finals in Belle Fourche on June 24-27. That’s a great rodeo, whether contestant, parent or spectator and I encourage you to go watch it.

Belle Jackpot has two events in June, on the 9th and 16th. They are at 6 p.m. at the Roundup grounds in Belle Fourche. I get to announce them so have the best seat in the house, but it’s good watching from wherever you are, besides being a great place to get extra practice for horse or rider without all the pressure of a big event.

I want us to give a hand for PRCA bullfighter, Trever Hamsher. After the tragic deaths of young New Mexico PRCA cowboys Mike Hillman and Jess Andrus in April from carbon monoxide poisoning while they slept in their camper, he wanted to do something to keep it from happening to anyone else. After contacting and talking to many companies that make and sell the detectors, Kidde, a UTC Fire and Security Co., donated 50 carbon monoxide detectors to Hamsher to be distributed to rodeo cowboys. This is a drop in the bucket when you think of all the rodeo people going down the road, but it’s a start. Hamsher is from Prairie City, OR. If he can do this, perhaps someone else will too.

Hulett, WY is a great place to be on June 12-13, as that’s their annual rodeo and shindig. It’s a beautiful location with an excellant rodeo sanctioned by several associations. Hulett is such a neat town and the ranchers and rodeo folks from there are the best.

June 19 is the date for the Chris LeDoux Tribute Rodeo at Kaycee, WY. They will be dedicating the bronze of Chris at that time too. For more info, go to http://www.kayceewyoming.org.

On June 19-20, the Cowgirl Style Barrel Race will be held at Golliher Outdoor Arena, north of Spearfish, SD. Call 605-642-5363 for details.

Congrats and all that jazz to Jamie and Wendi Howard of Running Colors Paints, rural Rapid City, on their filly Girls Got Grip winning the big Graham Paint and Appaloosa Futurity at Remington Park in Oklahoma on May 29th. The Grade 1 Futurity was run over 350 yards and the gorgeous two year old filly ran it in 17.71 for a paycheck of $97,743! They own her dam and she is the leading producer of running paints in the country, with another major runner also on the tracks. Their website is http://www.runningcolors.com if you want to look over their horses and learn more about them.

Speaking of Paints, the APHA, for a limited time, are offering reduced fees on registration transactions, especially those for older horses. The saving could be as much as $50-$400, depending on the type of transaction. This goes for the Solid Paint breds as well. This is also a good time to get your transfers caught up, as that is a special deal too.

I’ve talked to many breeders with Thoroughbreds, Quarter Horses, and Paints, and most are cutting way back on their mare numbers or the number they are going to breed. Until something turns around and there is a market again, there just isn’t any reason to keep raising as many horses. Think twice, then twice more, before you breed your mare this year. If I hear one more person say they are going to breed their mare because little colts are so cute, I may just throw myself down and have a hissy fit.

On the unwanted horse front, a recent online survey done by the American Horse Publications, conducted Oct. 15, 2009-Jan. 31, 2010, had more than 11,000 responses (including me). In the survey, 30 percent of the respondents thought that unwanted horses are the most pressing issue the industry faces, while 18 percent said that not having the option of slaughter is the most urgent. Other issues received 0-8 percent of the votes. Naturally, respondents from the coasts were least likely to say lack of slaughter was the problem, while those in the central, more rural states, thought it was. On the part of options to address the problem, eight times as many people supported slaughter as opposed it and 22 percent thought it should be an option while only three percent thought it shouldn’t.

So, on that note… Canadian regulations for horses will be changing July 31, like it or not. Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s requirement for medical records for horses being processed for human consumption in Europe will be lining up with strict European Union regulations. This means that each horse will need complete records for all horses presented for slaughter, and each record must include unique identification, a record of illness, and medical treatment for the six months preceding processing. An Equine Information Document will be used by horse owners to record a horse’s history and includes several options for ID, including a physical descriptions and/or a microchip, and it stays with the horse through change of ownership and on to the processing plant.

Around 50,000 horses a year have gone to Canada for processing since the U.S. plants closed. Under EU law, all horses are classified as animals for human consumption and that means strict rules and regs are enforced to prevent drug residues from entering the human food chain.

The regulations will ban meat from horses with certain drugs, and horse without records will be held for six months to clear their system of any drugs. Up until now, random testing at processing facilities has been done.

I understand the need for keeping drugs out of the food supply, so am not genuinely opposed to this in every way. However, those of us who administer vaccinations, wormers, analgesics, and antibiotics to our horses at home will probably not be in compliance, unless documented by a vet, or at least that’s my guess.

Sooooo… suppose anyone will lie about it? Not that anyone has ever lied about a horse’s drug habit in the past, mind you. But it could happen. I think there could be a lot of slips between the fork and lips, so to speak, when a horse is sold to a slaughter buyer and put on a truck headed to Canada. I just have a feeling this isn’t going to get easier for anyone, especially the horses.

Well, I’ve ridden my horse back and forth over some toes this week, but sometimes things need to be said, so I said them. If you’re mad, write to me, not my editor. So, until next week, happy trails.


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